Saturday, August 31, 2013

Deficit Amnesia

Oh, but for the good old days when Republicans were in favor of nothing but cutting income taxes- and practically admitted it.

Think Progress takes us back to those times, before President Clinton on August 10, 1993 signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, nicknamed (not really) by Republicans as "The Path to Hell.Act."

In February of that year, Representative Bill Archer of Texas maintained he wished Clinton's program would "increase jobs and the standard of living (but) his massive tax increases will do just the opposite."   Representative Thomas Ewing of Illinois contended "the Clinton plan will hurt the economy and kill new job creation... by crippling small- and medium-sized businesses, the plan will kill jobs."

The following month, Rep. Phil Crane of Illinois argued "the budget proposal offered by the Democrats is a recipe for economic and fiscal disaster."  Representative Jim Ranstad of Minnesota claimed "Economists across the ideological spectrum are convinced that the Clinton tax increases will lead to widespread job loss."

May brought California's Christoper Cox labeling the tax increase a "Dr. Kevorkian plan for our economy" (which) "will kill jobs, kill businesses, and yes, kill even the higher tax revenues that these suicidal tax increasers hope to gain." Texas' Bill Archer argued the plan would cut jobs "and the standard of living for Americans."

In July, Representative Bob Goodlatte of Georgia contended small businesses "will be the hardest hit by the Clinton tax-and-spend budget because when you raise taxes, you kill jobs."  The following month, the budget plan was condemned by Representatives Kasich, Dornan, Armey, and Helflin, the latter notably claiming it "will raise your taxes, increase the deficit, and kill over 1 million jobs."

The pattern of criticism had been launched in February when the leader of those gentlemen, then-Minority Whip Gingrich, had complained

We have all too many people in the Democratic administration who are talking about bigger Government, bigger bureaucracy, more programs, and higher taxes. I believe that that will in fact kill the current recovery and put us back in a recession. It might take 1 1/2 or 2 years, but it will happen.

And those Republicans backed their words with action, for every Republican in the House of Representatives voted against the budget.  The GOP's solidarity held firm in the Senate, with the increase opposed by each of its members, including Oklahoma's Don Nickles, Utah's Orrin Hatch, Iowa's Chuck Grassley, and Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, who predicted the "package will not reduce the Federal debt, or even balance one annual budget for that matter."

In retrospect, the tax increase was the centerpiece of President Clinton's economic plan, which helped create the longest period of economic growth in United States history and balanced budgets, one of which was handed to President George W. Bush, who quickly (and intentionally) squandered it.

A party whose leaders have backbone would acknowledge their error.  It would embrace its position of 1993 and emphasize that the Republican Party is the party of lower taxes, or that the stock market boom and/or dot-com bubble was largely responsible.

But no, because dishonesty is the easy way out, and if Republicans cannot misinform their supporters, they really have no reason to exist.  Last December, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell asked Gingrich for an apology for predicting the Clinton budget would produce a recession, whereupon the former Speaker and future Crossfire host claimed "When we balanced the budget, we balanced the budget with a tax cut, not a tax increase. Four consecutive balanced budget with a tax cut, not a tax increase. "

Gingrich is not alone in rewriting history.  Interviewed by Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz stated

I think you're exactly right about the history of 1995, that there was some short-term political pain. But, at the same time, because Republicans stood together, we saw year after year of balanced budgets which never would have happened if Republicans had folded like they're trying to fold right now.

You knew nothing could be accurate when it starts with "(Rush), I think you're exactly right."

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